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Government’s disregard for child welfare highlighted by UNICEF report – Sandra McLellan TD

28 October, 2014

Sinn Féin TD for Cork East, Sandra McLellan, has today said that the UNICEF report ‘Children of the Recession’ highlights the government’s complete disregard for the welfare and protection of children in this state.

Speaking on the report, Deputy McLellan said:

“The UNICEF report shows that child poverty levels increased in Ireland by 10% since 2008, ranking 37th out of 41 OECD countries.

“Between 2008 and 2012, 130,000 children fell into poverty as a result of the austerity policies implemented first by Fianna Fáil and the Green Party and then by Fine Gael and Labour since the start of the recession.

“The report also stated that people do not believe children in Ireland have the opportunity to learn and grow every day.

“This is damning but, sadly, it is not surprising.

“Children, specifically those from lower income families, are paying a disproportionate price for the collapse of the banking system and the government’s subsequent unwavering commitment to austerity.

“Sinn Féin, in our alternative Budget, outlined fully-costed measures that we believe the government should introduce to address the issue of rising poverty. Lower income families are in desperate need of reprieve but this government has been unrelenting with Budget 2015 by once again targeting them.  

“How can the Fine Gael and Labour government stand over policies that are decreasing a child’s chances for a better future?

“The government is creating a continuous cycle of poverty. Children who grow up in poverty are more likely to be impoverished adults who, as a result, raise their own children in the same conditions.

“This is unacceptable.

“Sinn Féin believes that all budgetary measures should be poverty proofed and that government policies should focus on providing a sustainable, prosperous and beneficial future for the children in this state.

“28.6% of Irish children are living in poverty. No amount of government spin can eradicate this fact. No government TD or Minister could justify this.

“I am calling on the government to move away from its regressive policies and to pay heed to Sinn Féin’s alternative budget and the recommendations within it to tackle both the cycle and rising levels of poverty.”

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